ePortfolio as a teaching and learning tool and approach may be new to many instructors. You are probably asking yourself "as an instructor, how can I engage my students in learning using the CN ePortfolio?” or “How can I ensure they are actually learning while creating their ePortfolio?"
Here, we would like to offer a few tips:
1. Integrate CN with your curriculum and course syllabus. Design ePortfolio-based assignments and count ePortfolio activities towards the course grade. For example, you may require students to create a course folder and upload course project and assignment files. Let students submit the folder URL for grading. You may also ask them to create an evidence-rich Showcase to document and reflect on their problem-based/project-based learning experience. Let them submit the Showcase URL for grading. You may also ask them to complete multiple parts of the ePortfolio and submit the entire ePortfolio URL for assessment. Please read this article for detailed instruction and sample assignment language.
2. Engage your students in ePortfolio-related discussions on CN. Whether you are using CN as an LMS or a complement to your LMS, you can take advantage of the social discussion tools CN offers to make ePortfolio related announcements and engage students in ePortfolio related conversations. Here, I have provided some examples. In the beginning, you may want to create a post to introduce ePortfolio: explain what it is and why students need to create and maintain an ePortfolio and share the CN ePortfolio introduction tutorial video with students.
You may create a post to share example ePortfolios.
You may create a post to explain ePortfolio assignments and give students instructions on completing a specific section of their ePortfolio. This can be in addition to the ePortfolio assignment(s) created in your LMS. Here, you can add more details or specify a specific point. Students can also comment on your posts or communicate with each other to clarify understanding.
Create polls to survey student opinions about ePortfolio activities and badges.
You may also encourage your students to create posts and polls to share their ePortfolio and ePortfolio creation experience.
*If you and your students enjoy having discussions in CN, you can expand your discussion from ePortfolio-related to other course topics. Please refer to the following resources:
3. Award students badges, give them recommendations and compliments, endorse their skills, expertise, and Showcases. These functions are very easy to use. It only takes a few minutes of your time but it will tremendously strengthen your students’ ePortfolios and motivate their learning. You may also encourage students to write compliments to recognize their peers’ skills and work.
4. Give your students recommendations/compliments and encourage them to give each other recommendations/compliments.
5. Endorse your students' skills and Showcases. To you, it is only one click to you, but it means a lot to your students. Also encourage students to endorse each other.
6. The ePortfolio is a great tool and activity for first-year-seminar and career preparation courses. Instructors, student advisors, and career services staff should encourage students to start creating their ePortfolio early and to continue building it throughout the education program.
7. Have capstone projects and career advisors help senior students reflect on their learning experiences, polish their ePortfolio, create different versions, and apply for jobs using their ePortfolio.